What should we make of the so-called "trifecta" of scandals hitting the Obama White House? And what questions should we ask about the IRS/Tea Party story? Also this week: Chris Matthews wants Obama to take charge–just like the union-busting Ronald Reagan. And the Newseum decides two Palestinian journalists shouldn't be considered part of their tribute to journalists who died reporting the news.
Last night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosted a discussion on the Obama administration's recently disclosed "white paper" justifying its policy of using drones to strike at U.S. citizens. Matthews ultimately deciding that the policy was defensible–on the grounds that the CIA director Leon Panetta goes to church.
On the subject of why politicians aren't worried about corporate media factcheckers, a New York Times article from last week (8/31/12) by Alessandra Stanley is worth a second look. Under the headline, "How MSNBC Became Fox's Liberal Evil Twin," Stanley wrote: "You can agree with everything that Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz say on MSNBC and still oppose their right to say it." Stanley's problem was that "all that attitude" on MSNBC "leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias": All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up [...]
Here's the video of MSNBC host Chris Matthews speaking at a cable industry conference this week. We noted here the odd notion that, as Matthews argues, 24-hour cable news would have stopped the Iraq War lies–despite the fact that 24-hour cable news had been around for more than 20 years at the time of the invasion. But watching the video is rather jarring: Matthews' passionate critique of embedded, what-officials-say-is-OK-with-me journalism sounds like Amy Goodman. It's so fundamentally at odds with Matthews' actual work that you have to wonder whether he believes any of it. Of course, Matthews was speaking at [...]
(UPDATE: See the video of Matthews' comments here, along with some discussion of what it all means.) Reporting from the big cable TV industry event this week, Broadcasting & Cable's Andrea Morabito writes (5/22/12): Hardball host Chris Matthews argued that because of the rise of opinion-based news networks, the non-critical aspect of the media is gone, going as far to say that the reporting that verified the U.S. administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002 would not happen today because of cable news. "I would like to think there would be a reckoning we didn’t have [...]
On Wednesday (5/2/12), MSNBC host Chris Matthews played a long clip from the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart mocked Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Stewart naturally recalls George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op stunt from 2003. Stewart points out that if Republicans are angry about Obama "spiking the football," Bush was spiking the ball before the game started. So the clip played, and then we cut to Matthews, chuckling away. Of course Stewart's point is right on–anyone who listens to this whining from the right is bound to recall [...]
As we've written before, some political flipflops are better than others. The ones that Mitt Romney commits, or might commit in the future, are often seen as being the good kind. That argument was advanced once more this Sunday (4/29/12) on the Chris Matthews Show, by Time editor Rick Stengel and the host himself, who were engaged in a familiar Beltway media discussion where journalists pretend to be campaign strategists. In this case, the question was whether the Obama campaign should push the idea that Romney is a flipflopper, or the idea that he's very conservative. STENGEL: The thing that [...]
Now here's an anti-war argument I hadn't heard before, courtesy of conservative blogger/journalist Andrew Sullivan (on NBC's Chris Matthews Show, 3/18/12): SULLIVAN: Again, it just shows that America colonizes without any real colonial talent because this is a country built on escaping colonialism, not actually imposing it. MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well… SULLIVAN: You're doing something against the DNA of the United States. While the idea idea that the United States is not and has apparently never been a colonial power struck Matthews as a reasonable one, it might strike other people as rather odd. The Spanish-American War would seem to qualify [...]
NBC's Chris Matthews Show (10/30/11): CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back. Bob, tell me something I don't know. BOB WOODWARD: That the White House has a secret plan to win the election and it's complex and it's secret, but it–look, Barack Obama wants to win so badly, as I understand it, everything in the White House is driven by the election and that level of commitment will take them to a point where he's going to show some leg in a way that people are going to say, wow, he really wants the job and this emotional connection could take place. MATTHEWS: [...]
On Sunday's episode of NBC's Chris Matthews Show (4/3/11), the panel actually talked about criticism of the mainstream media, with some citing the media's Iraq War debacle as a major factor in the rise of blogosphere-based media criticism. The discussion got somewhat confused along the way, as this segued into a discussion of the entirely unrelated phenomenon of Republican political candidates who do not like to speak to journalists. Then the Washington Post's Bob Woodward weighed in with a solution. He explained that you can get in good with politicians–I mean, do investigative journalism–if you follow his simple advice: Tell [...]
From the Friday broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (2/4/11) came a discussion about how the U.S. supports dictators–which elicited some chuckles. Remember, Mark Shields is the one who plays the "left" on the program. MARK SHIELDS: Just one little point of personal privilege on Joe Biden, who did take a hit for not being able to say dictator, but in United States politics, I mean, it's always been, if someone is on our side, he is a strongman. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: If he is on the other side, he is a dictator. I mean, that has sort of been the [...]
On yesterday's Chris Matthews show on NBC, the assembled journalists all seem to agree that Barack Obama's decision to cut a tax deal with Republicans and come out swinging against the left was great news. Time's Mike Duffy: "These liberals may scream, but they've been screaming about Barack Obama since the beginning. This isn't anything new." Chris Matthews and NBC's Andrea Mitchell went back and forth about whether this was an actual "Sister Souljah moment" or a "mini moment." But Helene Cooper of the New York Times summed up the conventional wisdom best: I think President Obama just had a [...]